The Harrells Christian Academy varsity football team began their season last night at home against the East Carteret Mariners. There was a lot of excitement around the game, as new head coach Mike Brill made his HCA debut. Murphy-Johnson Field was rocking at kickoff, but it wasn’t long before the Mariners quieted the crowd. East Carteret dominated the Crusaders the entire game, and ran away with a 34-0 victory.
Junior Tyshii Scarborough started the game off well for HCA by returning the opening kickoff to the forty-three yard line. Despite a huge play right off the bat, HCA struggled to make it down the field, having to punt on fourth down. It didn’t take long for the Mariners to score; after having his first pass of the night broken up beautifully by senior Cole Hardison, East Carteret quarterback Brandon Lewis fired an eighty-one yard touchdown pass the very next play. The Crusaders were unable to get anything going on their second possession of the game, eventually failing to convert on fourth down, giving the ball back to the dangerous Mariners offense. East Carteret began to drive down the field for a second time, but Senior Marcellos Allison came out of nowhere to tip off one of Lewis’ passes resulting in an interception for Cole Hardison. The interception gave the Crusaders a huge burst of momentum and they began to drive up the field. HCA’s drive died quickly when senior Kevin Carney fumbled the ball and East Carteret recovered. The turnover proved to be a costly one, as Brandon Lewis marched his offense down the field for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first quarter.
Trailing 14-0, the Crusaders started the second quarter with the ball. HCA failed to get a drive going, despite great play calls from the new quarterback, Gray Fussell. The Crusaders did dominate the time of possession in the second quarter, but breakdowns on the defensive allowed the Mariners to make it 21-0 thanks to a sixty-five yard touchdown pass from Lewis.
Not long after getting the ball back, HCA turned the ball over again, but were able to keep East Carteret from adding on to their lead before halftime. The second quarter was much more tightly contested than the first, but the Crusaders had already dug themselves into a hole they could not get out of. HCA’s offense did show some life during the third quarter, but still had nothing to show for it.
Another HCA turnover led to another East Carteret touchdown. The Mariners’ fourth touchdown of the night was their first to come via the ground as running back Dom Carter crossed the goal line for his first rushing touchdown of 2015. After dominating the first three quarters, East Carteret led 28-0 heading into the fourth.
The Mariners added to their lead with another touchdown from Carter, making it 34-0 halfway through the fourth quarter. HCA did finally mount a drive in the closing minutes of the game, but were ultimately denied at the goal line as the game clock struck zero. The Crusaders were dominated throughout the game, but did receive impressive outings on offense from Gray Fussell, Marcus and Tyshii Scarborough, and Kevin Carney. On the other side of the ball, Nathan Casteen and Isacc Edgreen turned in solid performances while showcasing their great leadership skills.
HCA will look to bounce back next week at home against Statesville Christian.